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d+a is a Singapore-based title established in 2001. We began as a bi-monthly print magazine and have since developed a digital presence too. Advocates of good design and architecture in Asia and Southeast Asia, we also champion Asian designers who are either trailblazing or up-and-coming. Our excellent relationship with the design and architecture community means we are among the first to publish newly-completed projects, and find out how they are done. These we curate to ensure that they are designed with purpose and intention to have a positive imprint on the built environment. Through in-depth features, we analyse the trends, technologies and ideas sweeping across the industry and their implications on the ecosystem.
Earlier this year, the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission from the UK released a report entitled Creating space for beauty. In it, it states, “Beauty is a part, not the whole part but an inescapably necessary part of the good life, of what, long ago, the Greeks called eudemonia. And beauty should be shared and democratic[,] not forgotten.” We were heartened to learn about the existence of this organisation and excited to read how it wants “to put beauty back on the agenda”. This is something we try to do ourselves and, we hope, inspire our audience to follow. Case in point is the project on our cover this issue, the UCCA Dune Art Museum by OPEN Architecture, in Qinhuangdao, China. Its beauty lies in how it is partially submerged beneath natural sand dunes and composed of organically-shaped, interconnected, grotto and cave-like segments that mediate the space between land and sea. Equally good-looking are the three bungalows that we have featured – each set in a slightly different tropical context. The first is in Malaysia, by MJKanny Architect, that uses a funnel to build anticipation up towards the view, enhanced by a half-radial layout. The second is in Thailand, by Sunday* Architects, and draws on classic Mid-century Modern design elements. The third is in Indonesia, by Saota, a collection of buildings connected by gardens, courtyards and planted terraces. Still on the topic of homes, our anchor feature is on affordable housing and the architectural firms that are innovating in this space. The lack of reasonably-priced homes to be offered to the masses is a global issue and governments are now examining the challenge on their hands. This story spotlights a few projects and the architects who are behind them.